5 Things You Need To Know Before Embarking On A Weight Loss Plan
Posted by Jessica Penner
As you wake up in the morning, you feel the familiar fatigue that plagues you every morning. You look at your CPAP machine and wonder, “is this thing even working?!”
Before you lose hope and quit CPAP treatment, did you know that even mild weight loss could drastically improve the effectiveness of your treatment?
And, conversely, did you know that CPAP treatment can help your weight loss efforts?
CPAP treatment and weight loss work hand in hand to help you get restful sleep and regain your energy levels!
However, if you’re like most people, you probably have already tried to lose weight… a hundred times… in a hundred different ways… without any lasting success.
So let’s change that outcome! Before you embark on the latest diet trend, first consider these five tips from me, your friendly neighbourhood Registered Dietitian.
1) Look long term
It can be tempting to dive into a diet plan where you see dramatic before and after photos. You’ll see people who apparently lost dozens of pounds after only a month, looking so happy and proud of themselves!
What you don’t see is the photo of these same people a year later when they’ve regained all that weight… and more!
Crash diets that promise quick weight loss are typically unsustainable. Many people can muster up enough willpower to meet some very strict food restrictions… for a short time. But we are not designed to work solely off willpower for the rest of our lives. So eventually we give in to temptation, and our weight loss plans fall apart.
When contemplating a diet change, ask yourself “can I see myself eating this way for the rest of my life?”
…feel weak in the morning without breakfast, then a diet plan that requires you to fast until lunchtime probably isn’t the right choice for you!
…love bread with all your heart, then a diet plan that cuts out the major sources of carbs probably isn’t the right choice for you!
…have young children and want to eat the same meal as them, then a shake-based diet plan probably isn’t the right choice for you!
2) Take it slow
Most dieters who lose weight quickly have a hard time keeping the weight off. In the long game of lifetime weight loss, the winners tend to be the ones who chip away at their goal a little bit at a time.
Set small, achievable goals for yourself. It may sound cliche, but small changes add up to big changes in the long run!
Once you experience success achieving your small goal, you can work towards a slightly larger goal. Success is what motivates your brain to keep going, so a series of small achievable goals stacks the deck in your favour. Set yourself up for success! The brain is motivated to either avoid pain or repeat behaviours that resulted in a reward.
3) Reward yourself
Speaking of rewards, I highly recommend deciding on a non-food reward to give yourself once you reach your small goal!
For example, let’s say your goal is to increase your veggie intake. Each time you add a veggie to your meal, give yourself a checkmark! Once you hit 10 checkmarks, reward yourself with some pampering, a gift to yourself, or something like that!
4) Seek accountability
There’s a reason so many people do their hardest work as part of a group. Humans are social creatures. We thrive when we do things together. Life changes like this can be HARD. Everyone needs the support that comes from doing important life work alongside somebody else.
You could try making changes by yourself, but it will be a lot harder and you’ll be more discouraged by the inevitable setbacks along the way.
Find a support person to whom you can declare your intentions and ask that person to check in with you at specific intervals.
5) Don’t aim for perfection
Lastly, expect that you won’t always hit your mark. Aiming for perfection will only set you up for disappointment. Disappointment leads to discouragement, and discouragement leads to quitting. Kelly McGonigal, author of “The Willpower Instinct” highlights how numerous studies show that self-forgiveness actually increases our willpower while self-criticism extinguishes motivation. Allow yourself to fail and you’ll be more likely to pick yourself back up and keep moving on towards your goal.
Following these steps will give you a much better chance of hitting your weight loss goals!